Superstition is the Religion of Feeble Mind
The simplest definition of superstition is belief in chance or magic or luck, belief that certain things/events can bring good or bad luck to a person’s life. For example, it’s a common belief that a black cat crossing your road is bad luck, Friday the 13th is unlucky, one should not walk under the ladder, there’s some connection between itchy hands and financial gains/losses, a horseshoe is lucky, one should not open an umbrella inside, wearing the lucky shirt will help in performing better in exams or bring success in your business, so on and so forth. Most importantly there’s no section of the society, rich or poor, educated or uneducated which does not have some degree of superstition.
What makes us superstitious? Experts say that superstitions have evolved from the times when the uncertainties and dangers of life forced people to develop metaphorical ways of dealing with them. In life we are often in situations where the outcome is uncertain like an interview or a presentation, a cricket match. Despite the efforts and preparation, things can happen beyond an individual’s control. Superstition therefore, is a tool that makes a person believe that he has gone a step further to ensure the outcome he desires. Furthermore, we become believers of superstition by repeated coincidences, e.g., wearing a shirt and qualifying one or two competitive exams will strengthen the belief that wearing that shirt is lucky. The best part of superstitious practises is that most of them are not harmful or dangerous. But sometimes superstitions can become extremely dangerous leading to violation of human rights and exploitation like murders of witches in our country or sacrifices of children by tantrics. Sometimes people do not seek medical help but prefer traditional treatments. Also too much belief in superstition makes people slave to them.
What’s the way out? Increasing awareness against superstitions which is the most difficult part when it comes to striking at age old beliefs and customs and rituals. Social workers and rationalists always face fierce backlash for speaking against superstitious malpractices. The fight against superstition has to start at a lower level, i.e. at individual’s level. People have to be made aware of the fact that these beliefs only cause anxiety and there is no scientific foundation to them. Realising superstition has no logical basis and with the power of mind we can achieve anything and everything, superstitions will gradually get out of our lives and society.
Remember superstition is only the religion of feeble minds!!